Update 9-16-15: Assessing the iPad Pro
I'd have to say I tempered my actual excitement about the iPad quite a bit once we got it home and started playing with it. And this morning I am back on my MBP laptop editing and writing… Why?
1. Keyboards do make for more efficient writing at this point. I don't think I'd get along for very long if I had an iPhone or an iPad as my primary data entry device. The artificial click sound produced by those devices is better than nothing, but not quite as satisfying as the actual click of the keyboard key registering the proper letter.
2. It's still little. The form factor of the iPad is amazing. And still, even on my 15" laptop I crave ever more pixels. The screen is sharp and bright, and being able to reorient from landscape to portrait and back is nice, depending on the app you are running. But it's still small. Not a complaint, just often I am going to opt for the bigger screen anyway.
3. We don't know what to do with it yet. I was listening to an NPR podcast with a nice visual and text running along side. But I don't really do podcasts. So that didn't last very long. Then we're all playing variations of games on it. Doodlejump is amazing, as expected. Other highlights are Mahjong and Draw. But again, we are just beginning to explore the options.
4. The Netflix streaming is amazing. So for mobile viewing of movies available for streaming or downloading, it's a very cool experience. But again, that's just movies. Once you get the little device set up for viewing, it's not that different, and not really better than your laptop. In your lap, yes, it's smaller, easier to move around, but I found myself looking around for a pillow to put under it to get it at the right angle.
5. The really amazing stuff is still in development. What can I do with my iPad today vs. what do I want to do with it? What will I be doing with my iPad in a month? What are the innovative uses of that big touch screen that have yet to be discovered? We're going to be discovering this together as we go along.
6. The eBook thing is pretty amazing. And the number of free books, I think, will astound you. I'm imagining doing some book reviews of the free stuff. Best of so far: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Walden, Kamasutra (of course), Siddhartha. Page flipping with a flick of the finger, and even the sound of the page moving, is cool. But ultimately it's the words not the gimmick that makes the eBook format so intriguing. I remember reading Hacker Crackdown on my Newton, back in the day. It was cool, but a bit of a pain in the ass. I'm expecting typical eBooks to be about the same as real books. But what we can do in the future, with books formatted specifically for the iPad? Well, I'm looking forward to the advance in this concept as well.
7. In the end a new computer is just a new computer. The iPad does not do anything by itself. It is a beautiful little slab of metal and touch-sensitive glass. But it doesn't do anything creative or amazing without you asking it properly. And we have not figured out how to ask the iPad to reveal all its possibilities to us yet. And that's a common experience. Each time we upgrade to a faster, sweeter laptop, we soon run into ourselves again, staring into the same familiar OS, looking at the same websites.
It is not the machine but what you do with it. With the iPad we are at the opening bell. The devices have survived their first 24 hours in our collective hands. A moment last night when the kids were rough housing I caught myself saying, "Kids the kindle is a toy yes, but it's a very expensive toy, so I'd prefer if you not wrestle with it between you." And again at the end of a party as we were heading home, my daughter had discovered the drawing program and was walking along the sidewalk with the iPad glow lighting her face. "Be careful honey," I said, thinking of the drop rather than the possible skinned knee.
My total iPad experience thus far can be summed up like this: doodlejump, browse the web, mahjong, draw, browse the web, doodlejump, npr app listening to a pod cast, mahjong…
Afternoon update: A friend who's in the tech and design business as well, wanted to know what I thought of my iPad. He said last night, iPad Saturday evening to be exact, the sales folk were reticent but able to produce a purchasable iPad of all three varieties. So, it seems like you can get one if you want one. After a brief discussion he was most likely going to head back to the Apple store and pick up one. He was hedging towards the Android units that were "coming" but did see the value in the iPad, for now.